A rigorous engineering and research effort combined with targeted field testing has delivered a new generation of PDC technology. This technology is intended to be used for the most technically challenging drilling applications across the globe.

During the development of this technology, several new design features were successfully tested in Sultanate of Oman in traditional PDC applications. Once the new technologies were fully developed, an effort was made to test these PDC bits in historically non-PDC drillable applications.

One of the first applications identified for the new technology was in Field-A, Sultanate of Oman. The 8 3/8-in. section at Field-A consists of abrasive sands and hard shales of the Haushi and Haima formation groups and is typically drilled using turbines and impregnated bits.

Successful application of PDC bits in Field-A prompted a second application: Field-B. This application is drilled with the turbine/impregnated bit combination through the same formation groups. Penetration rates in Field-B are typically higher and run lengths longer.

In both applications, testing started with the first bit out-of-the-shoe using a rotary assembly. The objective was to understand the capabilities of the new technology, then apply key learnings to the next design iterations.

The authors will describe the technologies developed for the new PDC bits. These new technologies have been able to extend the typical PDC application range into harder abrasive rocks. Improvements in penetration rate of 25% to over 200% have been realized with run lengths competitive to impregnated bits resulting in substantial reduction in drilling cost. Additional cost reduction is achieved by replacing turbine with rotary. Thus far, savings of up to almost 200% have been realized in a single section compared with offsets and 11-day time savings compared to plan.

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